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Tehran hosts meeting between Taliban and Afghan delegations

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(Last Updated On: July 7, 2021)

A meeting between a Taliban delegation and the Afghan Republic, chaired by the Iranian Foreign Minister, got underway on Wednesday in Tehran.

According to a Taliban spokesman, Mohammad Naeem, Iran invited the Taliban delegation from Doha, led by Shir Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai, senior Taliban negotiator in Qatar for “bilateral meetings”.

In his opening address, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said: “Today, the people and political leaders of Afghanistan must make difficult decisions for the future of their country”.

Referring to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan, Zarif called on the parties to return to the negotiating tables and commit to finding a political solution.

He also said Iran was ready to assist in the dialogue process in order to resolve the current crisis in the country.

Zarif also said Iran is committed to contributing towards comprehensive political, economic and social development of Afghanistan after the establishment of peace.

The Taliban delegation is headed by Abbas Stanekzai, the group’s deputy leader of the Doha, Qatar office.

The Afghan delegation is being led by former vice president Younus Qanooni, who has been accompanied by Karim Khurram, former chief of staff to former President Hamid Karzai, Ershad Ahmadi, close aides of former President Karzai, President Ghani’s advisor Salaam Rahimi, Zahir Wahdat of Hezb-e-Wahdat party and Mohammadullah Batash from Junbish party.

Another Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid meanwhile said other issues that will be discussed include that of refugees, border and security and peace in Afghanistan and the region.

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China’s birthrate falls to lowest level in 61 years

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

China’s birthrate has fallen to its lowest level in six decades, barely outnumbering deaths in 2021 despite major government efforts to increase population growth and stave off a demographic crisis.

Across China, 10.62 million babies were born in 2021, a rate of 7.52 per thousand people, the national bureau of statistics said on Monday.

In the same period 10.14 million deaths were recorded, a mortality rate of 7.18 per thousand, producing a population growth rate of just 0.34 per thousand head of population, the Guardian reported.

The rate of growth is the lowest since 1960, and adds to the findings of last May’s once-a-decade census, which found an average annual rise of 0.53%, down from 0.57% reported from 2000 to 2010.

China, like much of east Asia, is in the grip of a population crisis, with lowering birthrates, and predictions of imminent negative population growth and an ageing population. Monday’s figures showed the proportion of over-60s in China rose from 18.7% in 2020 to 18.9%.

Beijing has announced major reforms to address the decline, including raising the retirement age. A three-child policy has replaced the two-child policy that was introduced in 2016 and had sparked a slight increase in births before falling again.

The high cost of living, delayed marriages and lack of social mobility are frequently cited as contributing factors to young Chinese people’s reluctance to have children.

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CSTO to take anti-drug trafficking measures at Afghanistan border

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

The Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) will hold a three-phase anti-drug trafficking operation at the border with Afghanistan, the organization’s Secretary General Stanislav Zas told Russia-24 news outlet.

He said the CSTO has a range of activities planned for 2022, including military security and the fight against terrorism, Russia-24 reported.

“These are measures of fighting against the illegal circulation of narcotics. This subject is especially important on the backdrop of the recent events in Afghanistan. Here we plan three stages of anti-drug trafficking measures,” Zas said.

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Pakistan’s NSA to visit Kabul this week

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA) Moeed Yusuf will lead a high-level inter-ministerial delegation to Kabul on Tuesday for a two-day trip for talks on bilateral matters and a focus on Islamabad’s efforts to avert a humanitarian crisis in the country.

“Yusuf is steering the Afghanistan Inter-Ministerial Coordination Cell (AICC) to channel Pakistan’s humanitarian and economic assistance to Afghanistan in a manner that helps the Afghan interim authorities in combatting their key challenges while adhering to the requirements of the UN and international sanctions,” Pakistan’s Dawn news reported.

Officials said the purpose of the visit is to ascertain Afghanistan’s “humanitarian, economic and development needs”.

Dawn news reported the “main sectors of Pakistan’s cooperation with Afghanistan include health, higher education, provision of humanitarian assistance, and enhancement of trade/business contacts”.

The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) government is yet to confirm the visit.

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